Old Friends: (l-r) Ian Hallard (Peter), Rose Shalloo (Jodie), Sara Crowe (Mrs Campbell) and James Bradshaw (Edward) in The Way Old Friends Do. Pic: Darren Bell
Devotion, desire and…. dancing queens all feature in a new play by Ian Hallard at Salford's Lowry Theatre this month.
The Way Old Friends Do is at the theatre from May 22-27 – and if you're an Abba fan you might recognise the title of one of the band's less-well-known songs.
The story is that in the late 1980s, two Birmingham schoolfriends "come out": one as gay, the other, more shockingly, as an Abba fan.
Thirty years later they reunite to form the world’s first Abba tribute band – in drag. Can their friendship survive a life on the road filled with platform boots, fake beards and a distractingly attractive stranger? Simultaneously tender and hilarious, Ian Hallard's story will appeal to anyone who understands how it feels to be a fan.
Ian Hallard (front) and Mark Gatiss
Also starring Ian Hallard, the play is directed by his real-life husband Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Dracula, Doctor Who, The League of Gentlemen) and the cast includes Donna Berlin (Doctors) James Bradshaw (Endeavour), Sara Crowe (Olivier award-winner for Private Lives), Andrew Horton and Rose Shalloo. The play also features the voices of Miriam Margolyes and the much-missed Paul O'Grady.
Ian Hallard said: “It's a backstage play, very much in the vein of The Full Monty or Stepping Out: a bunch of plucky amateurs deciding to put on a show. It's about those characters and their relationships. Abba is very much part of the show, but it's about being an Abba fan, not about Abba.”
Mark Gatiss added: “It's about friendship, love, about fun. It’s also about life and how time changes us. But principally, it's just a really entertaining show.”
More info and tickets here